Hamilton-Smith on Brands Hatch GP chances
A return to the illustrious Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for F3 Cup could present Louis Hamilton-Smith with his best chance so far this year of ending his win drought in a fortnight’s time.
A return to the illustrious Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for F3 Cup could present Louis Hamilton-Smith with his best chance so far this year of ending his win drought in a fortnight's time.
Hamilton-Smith led the opening exchanges of the second race at the 2013 Brands Hatch GP round but lost out to double winner Tristan Cliffe, instead coming home with a brace of second places. The win would have been his first since Silverstone in 2012.
Hamilton-Smith, though, is keeping his expectations in check: "I think it's difficult to say I can challenge for the win at Brands Hatch, but I'm hoping to be at the front for the podium positions. I like the GP circuit as I have some experience of the circuit, which should help me out."
The F3 Cup podium is a familiar place for Jigsaw Motorsport's experienced single seater campaigner. In his six starts in 2014, the Brackley-based 31-year-old has only missed out on the podium twice. He's continued his impressively-consistent form from last year, and is on a run of 14 podiums in 18 races during 2013 and 2014.
Oulton Park last time out was no different, despite treacherous conditions, as a fifth-place in race one was followed up with a third-place in race two. The drive secured his fourth top-three finish of 2014.
"Practice seemed to go well in the dry on the Friday, but the race day's heavy rain was not easy. I was quite cautious in qualifying, which made the first race quite difficult with vision because of the spray from the cars in front. I think my pace improved from there, as did my confidence with driving in the rain."
It hasn't been just the weather that has hampered Hamilton-Smith this year, his new Dallara has caused him headaches too.
"It's been quite a difficult start to the year with the various mechanical problems and limited testing. It's fair to say I have had some teething troubles with the car. Every time I have run the car until now I have found some faults and have been trying to put them right. First we had noise issues, electrical misfires, and then I have had some other issues with the dampers, floor and brakes. I am hoping the major faults are behind me and I can focus more on the performance side and get closer to the leading contenders.
"The car has quite a lot of potential, I just haven't been able to unlock it just yet. Now I have had some more time in the car at Oulton Park I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with it."
F3 Cup rounds 11 and 12 take place at Brands Hatch on the GP circuit on 16-17 August as part of the Lotus Festival. Weekend tickets cost £22 in advance. Click here for more details.